Business briefing

The daily business briefing: July 31, 2018

Trump administration considers a $100 billion capital gains tax break, CBS board leaves Moonves in place for now, and more


Trump administration weighs $100 billion capital gains tax break

The Trump administration is considering a proposal to cut capital gains taxes by $100 billion over 10 years, mostly for the wealthy, The New York Times reported Monday. Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Times in an interview during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina this month that his department was considering bypassing Congress and using regulations to let Americans factor inflation into calculating their capital gains when they sell an asset, such as a stock. Mnuchin said the Treasury Department could do this by changing the definition of the "cost" of an asset when calculating capital gains taxes. The move would be expected to face a court challenge and help Democrats argue that Republican tax policy is designed to help the wealthy, not the middle class.


CBS board leaves Moonves in place as sexual harassment inquiry starts

CBS's board on Monday left CEO Les Moonves in his job as it looks into sexual harassment allegations against him. The board took steps to pick an outside law firm to lead an investigation into the complaints against Moonves, the company said. The New Yorker on Friday published a report detailing claims by six women that Moonves sexually harassed them. The alleged incidents took place between 1986 and 2006. Moonves, 68, became the company's chief executive in 2006, and is one of the media industry's highest paid executives. He has said he "may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances," which he said he regretted. He also said he understands that "'no' means 'no'" and has never abused his position to hurt anyone's career.


U.S. stock futures edge up as investors await Apple report

U.S. stock futures gained early Tuesday as investors awaited Apple's earnings report after the bell. The spring quarter is typically a slow one for Apple, since many customers have either already purchased iPhones or are holding out for new versions typically released in September. This year, however, investors are hoping Apple will restore faith in the strength of the tech sector after disappointing earnings reports from internet giants Facebook and Twitter, and streaming video powerhouse Netflix last week. Apple's outlook for the coming quarter will provide insight into the company's expectations for the next iPhone.


Former FEMA executive accused of sexually harassing women for years

The former personnel chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Corey Coleman, is under investigation for allegedly sexually harassing women for years, FEMA Administrator William "Brock" Long told The Washington Post on Monday. Coleman resigned weeks ago. A preliminary, seven-month internal investigation found that the alleged harassment and other misconduct represented a "systemic problem going on for years," Long said. Coleman allegedly hired men who were friends and college fraternity brothers, as well as women he met in bars or through online dating sites. He allegedly had sexual encounters with two subordinates, and tried to fire one of them when she ended the relationship. He also reportedly hired women as possible sexual partners for men in the agency. Coleman quit in June ahead of a scheduled meeting with investigators. The Post could not reach him for comment.


Trump repeats threat to shut down government over wall funding

President Trump on Monday repeated his threat to shut down the government unless Congress approves funding for his promised border wall. "As far as the border is concerned, and personally, if we don't get border security, after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown," Trump said during a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. "It's time we had proper border security," Trump added. "We're the laughing stock of the world. We have the worst immigration laws anywhere in the world." The current government funding measure runs out at the end of September, 37 days before the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Republican leaders have vowed to avoid a shutdown, which analysts warn would reflect badly on the GOP since it controls both houses of Congress as well as the White House.


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